Whatever Floats Your Boat

What is studying abroad in Europe if one doesn’t travel at least a bit? 

Prior to this past weekend, never had I ever…

  • Sailed across the Baltic Sea
  • Cruised during the winter
  • Enjoyed being a tourist with no plan
  • Played the game, Telephone, in 7 languages
  • Had so much fun in a tiny stateroom
  • Eaten bread with room temperature pizza sauce (well…maybe still never)

This past weekend I took a cruise with a few DIS friends to Riga, Latvia. I entered the journey expecting to grow closer with my new friends and learn about Latvia. However, little did I know that I was embarking on an adventure that would teach me about the world in greater ways than I could have anticipated.

I committed to studying at DIS aware of its high concentration of Americans. When planning my experience I knew I wanted to Meet the Locals. Thankfully, DIS makes this goal easily attainable through housing options and extracurriculars. Stockholm, itself, is filled with students – especially in the surrounding areas of DIS’s location.

Within 40 minutes of being on board the cruise ship, my friends and I met our next door neighbors who were international students studying at a university in Stockholm. They were traveling in a group of 80 people, calling home (other than Stockholm) Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, China, etc. (you get the idea). They were kind and invited us to join them in conversation and fun over the course of the trip.

Study abroad is about engaging in culture (near and far). Riga was wonderful – beautiful architecture, lots of monuments, and snow covered roofs – but the engagement with overlapping cultures through international Swedish students was impactful.

I now have a network of friends in Stockholm who represent the epitome of “Scandinavia as your home, Europe as your classroom.”

Thank you Tallink Cruise Line.

To see what I am up to on a day to day basis, check out my Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/sweeedetimes/

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